Beach safety plans a success as no New Year drownings reported

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There were some close calls but fortunately there were no drownings reported in the Eastern Cape over the New Year period.

Two children were rescued in East London on New Year's Day in separate incidents.

Buffalo City municipal spokesperson Samnkelo Ngwenya said there had been four near-drownings in the metro since Wednesday — two at Eastern beach, one on the Nahoon River and another on the Gonubie River.

“All were rescued,” Ngwenya said.

“The incident on the Nahoon River occurred in an area where the public does not normally swim. Fortunately, a member of the public was able to rescue the child and we sent paramedics and we were able to ensure that the child was saved.”

On the Gonubie River, a boy between the age of six and eight was rescued by lifeguards on duty.  

“We monitored the resuscitation and it was successful. The boy was rushed to hospital.”

Ngwenya urged parents not to leave their children unattended, especially in crowded areas.

He said the incidents were an indication that parents were not supervising their children.

“Our joint operations are continuing and we are monitoring the situation. We are expecting things to quieten down between today and tomorrow [Friday] depending on the weather. We still have our marshals and additional  lifeguards so all our safety plans are  continuing. It is because of this that we have had a relatively incident-free New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.”

Ngwenya said the metro had cracked down on alcohol consumption in public during the festive season and as a result there had been low levels of violent crime.

“We have zero-tolerance policy in alcohol-free zones at our beaches. We will arrest people and confiscate alcohol.”

Ngwenya said 16 taverns, 26 business premises and 13 food outlets were closed for flouting municipal bylaws while many people had been arrested for drunk driving and disorderly conduct.

Meanwhile, there were no drownings on the Wild Coast over the New Year period.

OR Tambo district municipal spokesperson Zimkhitha Macingwane said: “We have received no reports of drownings, either on New Year's Eve or on New Year's Day.”

Stop and search operations in Port St Johns continued until the end of Thursday.

The district municipality had allocated R1.5m for the recruitment of lifeguards and beach patrollers.

Ingquza Hill municipal spokesperson Zamuxolo Matwasa said there were no drownings at their three beaches in Lusikisiki and Flagstaff.

“We would like to thank the public for heeding our call to stay safe at all times while visiting our beaches,” he said.

There were also no drownings at Mnquma, according to municipal spokesperson Loyiso Mpalantshane.

He said between 5,000 and 6,000 people had visited their most popular beach, Qolora by Sea, over New Year.